In its 50+ years of existence, the Kennesaw State University Permanent Collection has grown to include over 6,000 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper dating from the late 15th-century to the present. This robust collection primarily focuses on American art ranging from the 18th - 20th centuries, while also including diverse works ranging from early 20th-century African sculptures to contemporary work by emerging artists of today. The collection is housed in the Leo Delle Lassiter Jolley Collection Research Center, and will continue to expand thanks to the generosity of community donors and directed purchases.

Ruth Zuckerman at work in the studio
Ruth Zuckerman at work in the studio.

The Collection Timeline

1972: Fred D. Bentley Sr. and J. Alan Sellars (local collectors) establish the Permanent Collection of Art with two etchings, two lithographs, and one woodblock print. Generous donors continue to add works to this exceptional collection.  

1972-1984: Works from the Permanent Collection of Art as well as those on loan from local collectors, students, and faculty are on exhibition at various locations across the campus, including the Carmichael Student Center, the Library, and the Office of the President.  

1984: Roberta Griffin (art professor) establishes an exhibition program, using the Library Gallery and other appropriate spaces, which features works created by regional, national, and international artists. Traveling shows as well as art owned by local collectors or from the Permanent Collection of Art are highlighted in unique exhibitions.

1989: The Fine Arts Gallery opens in what would be named the Joe Mack Wilson Building to support the award-winning exhibition program for the next several decades. The Library Gallery (renamed the Horace W. Sturgis Library Gallery the following year) continues to be used as well.   

1997: Richard and Judy Marks donated a major artwork by American sculptor Viola Frey entitled Leaning Man III. In subsequent years, the Marks have provided KSU with additional significant 20th-century paintings and sculptures.

1999: Bernard A. Zuckerman donated nearly 125 sculptures, photographs, and paintings by his late wife and noted artist, Ruth Zuckerman. This body of work mostly consists of stone and bronze figural pieces exploring universal themes of love and family. Highlights from the collection are featured in the Ruth V. Zuckerman Pavilion of the Zuckerman Museum of Art as a part of the rotating exhibitions featured throughout the museum.

2004: The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation pledges $1 million to fund Phase I of the Art Museum, the first $1 million gift to the College of the Arts.  

2006: KSU Professor Emiratis Dr. Apostolos D. Ziros, along with his wife Kiki, gifted a discrete collection of Mangbetu and Azande sculptures collected from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 20th century. His grandfather, Dimitri Ziros, compiled this collection from hunting trips to central Africa. This collection was later highlighted in fall 2016 in Transitions, an exhibition that was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

2007: Don Russell Clayton donated his extensive collection of work by the Italian-born Georgia artist Athos Menaboni. With support from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Kennesaw State University serves as an educational center for the artist. Now one of the largest repositories of Menaboni's works in the country, the collection has continued to grow through donations from Mr. Clayton and other collectors.

2008: Dedication of the KSU Art Museum and Galleries [Don Russell Clayton Gallery and Anna F. Henriquez Atrium (located in the Bailey Center), and the Fine Arts Gallery (located in the Wilson Building)]. The Clayton Gallery features works by Athos Menaboni and the Henriquez Atrium features works by Ruth Zuckerman. Temporary exhibitions are mounted in the Fine Arts Gallery. 

2010: Bernard A. Zuckerman pledges $2 million to fund Phase II of the KSU Art Museum and Galleries. An additional $1 million is eventually raised (including another $300,000 gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation) for the project which will connect to the Bailey Center. 

2012: With the assistance of KSU Professor Valerie Dibble, the Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) selected the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art to house its permanent collection. One of the largest and most significant printmaking organizations in America, SGCI was co-founded in 1972 by Boyd Saunders, Bernie Solomon, and John O’Neil with the intent on joining artists together to advocate, celebrate, and collect contemporary printmaking in America. Through the help of Dr. Thomas Dewey and the University of Mississippi Museum of Art, the SGCI collection grew and flourished. This gift will continue to expand as additions are made to the KSU Collection from the SGCI Annual Conference.

2014: Dedication of the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art (Phase II) and includes the Ruth V. Zuckerman Pavilion, the Don Russell Clayton Gallery, and the Leo Delle Lassiter Jolley Collection Research Center. The Don Russell Clayton Gallery is relocated to the new Phase II building, the Malanda Jolley Morton Gallery opens in the original Clayton Gallery located in the Bailey Center and the Fine Arts Gallery becomes a space mainly used for Senior Capstone exhibitions. 

2023: The College of the Arts announces an expansion of the Zuckerman Museum of Art by building two new galleries at Chastain Pointe with a $1.1 million bequest from Emily Bourne Grigsby. The opening dates of the Athos Menaboni Gallery (will house and exhibit the Menaboni Permanent Collection) and the Emily Bourne Grigsby Gallery (will support exhibitions of works by students and faculty) have not been determined. 

2024: An exhibition titled Reflections: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future, Ten Years of the ZMA is mounted in the Clayton Gallery and Morton Gallery, and features works from the Permanent Collection of Art to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the opening of Phase II of the Bernard A. Zuckerman of Art. 

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